Figure 154

A diagram of the solar systematom analogy. The planets are attracted to the sun and revolve around it, just as the electrons (Es) are attracted to and revolve around the nucleus (N).

Gick and Holyoak (1980) gave subjects a story about a general attacking a fortress. The general could not use his whole army to take the fortress because the roads leading to it were mined to explode if large groups of men passed over them. He therefore divided his army up into small groups of men and sent them along different roads to the fortress so that they converged on it. When subjects were given this analogous story to memorise and later asked if they could use it to solve the radiation problem the rates of convergence solutions rose to about 80% (see Figure 15.5). So, people could use the analogous story to solve the problem. However, without a specific hint to use the analogy subjects did not tend to notice it (Holyoak & Koh, 1987; Keane, 1987; but see Schunn & Dunbar, 1996, for evidence of priming influences without analogue retrieval).

Apart from the difficulties involved in retrieving remote analogues, Gentner, Ratterman, and Forbus (1992) have shown that subjects tend to retrieve analogues that only share superficial features (so-called mere appearance matches). In other words, people are more likely to retrieve a story about doctors using rays, even if that story involves events that are irrelevant to the radiation problem. These results support the intuition that one reason why acts of creativity involving remote analogies are fairly rare is that most people have difficulties retrieving potentially relevant experiences from memory (Keane, 1987; Ripoll, 1998, 1999). However, Wharton et al. (1994) have shown that people may not be as poor at retrieval as they first seem. They found that subjects can retrieve deep analogues, once they are distinct from competing analogues stored in memory.

Theories and models of analogical thinking

There is now considerable theoretical agreement about the basis for analogical mapping and about what should be explained by models based on this theory (Holyoak & Thagard, 1995; Hummel & Holyoak, 1997). Table 15.1 shows the set of phenomena that a model should manifest. The phenomena outline the important psychological properties of analogy. For instance, that it involves finding a one-to-one

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